Table of contents: I. Introduction. – II. The European Union’s aspirations relating to contractual relations. – II.1. Context: competences to regulate civil matters. – II.2. First-pillar aspirations: contractual relations and the internal market. – II.3. Third-pillar aspirations: contractual relations and the area of freedom, security and justice. – III. Mutual recognition of judgments in civil and commercial matters. – III.1. Art. 36 Brussels I Recast. – III.2. The Court of Justice on the refusal of recognition. – IV. The interrelationship between mutual trust, mutual recognition and fundamental rights in Brussels I Recast in relation to the European Union’s aspirations relating to contractual relations. – IV.1. Mutual trust, mutual recognition and fundamental rights protection. – IV.2. Fundamental rights protection. – IV.3. The principle of mutual trust and the EU’s aspirations relation to contractual relations. – VI. Conclusions.
Abstract: This contribution aims to provide an analysis of the interrelationship between the principles of mutual trust, mutual recognition and fundamental rights in the field of private international law and to consider the interaction between these principles in relation to the European Union’s aspirations with regard to contractual relations. These aspirations involve both harmonization and unification of substantive private-law rules and far-reaching private international law measures, e.g. of mutual recognition of foreign judgments. After an introduction of the rule of mutual recognition under Brussels I Recast and its underlying mutual trust principle, first the role of fundamental rights will be discussed, which may be an important reason for limiting the rule. Secondly, it will be argued that the development of this rule should not only be seen in the light of the aspirations to build an area of freedom, security and justice, but also in the light of the aspirations to harmonize and unify substantive contract-law rules.
Keywords: mutual trust – mutual recognition – fundamental rights – private international law – harmonization – contractual relations.
* Research Fellow, Utrecht Centre for Regulation and Enforcement in Europe (RENFORCE), Utrecht University, firstname.lastname@example.org.